Even though most cars nowadays include a built-in navigation system, sometimes, using your own phone is just more comfortable. After all, for most people, our hands are on our phones far more often than they are on our driving wheel, and with Bluetooth technology, many smartphones seem to blend seamlessly with the speaker systems and technology of our cars.
However, most smart cars aren’t often designed to include a built-in holder or mount for our cell phones. Which means that purchasing a cell phone mount or holder for our vehicle is a fact of life, and a confusing one at that. After all, where do you attach it? The dashboard? Windshield? Air Vent? The cupholder? Is adhesive better than magnets? Which one is the best, and how do you know?
So if you’ve always wondered about these, read on for the answers!
Where to mount your cell phone holder
The most popular cell phone car mounts usually go in one of three places: Either your air conditioner vent, or your dashboard/windshield. There are positives and negatives about each, but it really all comes down to personal preference and the type of vehicle you have.
But then again, there’s always the question of adhesive vs clip, and clip vs magnets. And although we will certainly get into that, let’s start with the basics.
1) Vent Cell Phone Mounts: the Positives
If you have a standard air conditioner vent in the shape of a rectangle, then most vent cell phone holders will work just fine. You just need to make sure it will clip safely around your air vents and not fall off.
The positive about this type of cell phone mount is that for the most part, they don’t require any form of adhesive OR magnetic strip to attach to your vehicle.
Not that there’s anything wrong with magnets or adhesives. But sometimes, simplicity is best. You just need to make sure that the design of the vent mount is stable enough to securely attach to your air conditioning unit, and not drop your phone.
Additionally, since these types of clips do not use magnets or adhesion to attach to your vent, they can, in theory, be incredibly easy to clip on and off, making them ideal if you often rent cars and want to bring your own, trusty cell phone mount with you.
However, we do recommend that you look into vent phone mounts that are flexible and easy to adjust to your line of sight, such as the OMOTON Magnetic Car Phone Holder.
This product offers an adjustable clamp phone holder that directly attaches to a car’s vent without the use of magnets (the magnet is actually used to attach to your phone). Meanwhile, the state-of-the-art Olecranon Hook Design makes it easy to hook on and off, which is super convenient if you use rental cars often, or simply don’t want to waste your time gluing and ungluing cellphone holders from your dash.
But perhaps best of all, the ball-joint design allows for a 360° view. So no matter which vent you attach it to, you can adjust your viewing angle so that it will not block your sight. This makes for a safer, more convenient ride, and is also great for passengers as well, who can quickly adjust the cell phone mount without removing the phone.
2) Vent Cell Phone Mounts: the Negatives
Unfortunately, depending on your situation, the positive aspects of vent cell phone mounts are usually also the negative aspects. For example, a magnetic or adhesive holder allows you to stick your phone mount anywhere, whereas a vent cell phone mount can only stick to the vent.
Although this fact may seem obvious, it does help to actually pay attention to the type of air conditioning vent you have in your car. If it is very small or circular shaped, then chances are, your cell phone vent mount won’t attach easily or securely. Not always, but it is a risk.
Likewise, if the design is poor, it could come unhinged from your vent if you hit a rough patch or bounce around a lot. Since it is not sticking directly to a surface with adhesives or magnets, this could be an issue.
Again, this also depends on if you get a quality vent phone mount or not. The good ones, like the OMOTON Magnetic Car Phone Holder, won’t come undone. But the poorly designed ones could unhinge if they don't fit properly.
3) Dashboard Cell Phone Mounts, the Positives
In general, dashboard and windshield mounts are the more versatile choice for most people. Since they can attach anywhere above your dashboard, they don’t run the risk of not fitting onto an air vent. Likewise, since they normally use some form of adhesive bonding agent, they won’t be so easily pried loose - especially if you get into an accident or hit a rough patch on the road.
This makes them a favorite when it comes to motorcycles or scooters. In fact, adhesive holders can work really well when it comes to a mobile transportation device, and are generally considered the best mobile holder for scooters.
Likewise, given the location of the mount above your line of sight, mounting your phone to the windshield or dashboard of your car can improve the ease of visibility for looking at your phone. This makes it a fan favorite for Uber and Lyft drivers, since they can easily conclude rides, accept fairs, and navigate on the go.
4) Dashboard Cell Phone Mounts, the Negatives
Once in place, dash cell phone mounts are not so easily removed. This is mainly due to the nature and application of how they attach to your windshield or dashboard.
The most common form of application for a cell phone mount to a windshield or dash is automotive grade adhesive. In other words, glue.
In theory, this glue won’t damage your car, but it is really, really hard to move them once they are in place, and the same goes for removing them.
Therefore, for most dash or windshield mounts, this means that once they are removed, they cannot be so easily installed again.
Likewise, the adhesive does tend to break down over time, and can leave a residue. Although this may not be a problem for most people who plan on having their car for a while, it does help to know how to remove an unwanted cell phone dash mount, or the sticky mess it could make.
If you decided that adhesion was right for you, it definitely helps to understand what exactly it is, and how to remove it if you need to buy a new car or new cell phone holder.
The most common type of adhesive used in cell phone dash mounts is actually a semi-transparent “glue disk” called VHB which is normally manufactured by 3M.
VHB stands for Very High Bond, and as to be expected, the name implies the function - VHB is highly durable and very sticky, and generally won’t lose its adherence to your dash over time, even in the event of an accident or rough roads. And while this is certainly great for the functionality and durability of your cell phone dash mount, it can mean problems when you try to remove it later.
Luckily, it’s not impossible. And if you’re crafty and clever enough, removing a tricky phone holder or adhesive from your dash doesn’t have to be too much of a chore.
The best option for removing your mess will be the General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner made by 3M. Since the majority of the VHB adhesives used in vehicles are actually manufactured by 3M, these products work well in tandem with one another. In fact, they are chemically matched to take care of your sticky situation.
Additionally, as an aerial spray device, it is incredibly simple to use. You just spray it onto a rag, scrub it onto your dash, and watch it disappear.
However, if the spray isn’t for you, then you can always opt for a liquid or gel. The best on the market (and an alternative to 3M) is made by Goo Gone. Although the substance and methods of both cleaners may differ slightly - this is usually just a matter of personal preference and won’t reflect the performance.
After all, regardless of what material your dashboard is made of, both brands generally won’t stain, and the application is pretty much the same. A little elbow grease, time, and effort go a long way.
Best dash phone mount
Now that you know more about the positives and negatives associated with dash mounts, we are just going to go out right ahead and say it - adhesive phone mounts are not our favorite. Sure, they may be more durable in a pinch, but they can be a little tricky (and sticky!) to remove afterward, and not worth it.
And if you get a cellphone holder that doesn’t have the universal capability, then you will have to replace your dash mount when you get a new phone, which is simply not ideal.
Therefore, if you plan to use a cell phone mount in multiple cars or just don’t think about cleaning up a gummy residue, then go with a holder that has a suction mount.
Suction mounts are almost as easy to use as clip-ones, and the ones on the market today are nearly as strong as adhesives as long as intense moisture isn’t an issue.
For this reason, we’re going to give the award for “Best dash phone mount” to the suction based designs for their ease of use and flexibility.
And speaking of flexibility, the OMOTON Car Phone Holder Charger is specifically designed to not only hold your phone, but charge it, too. It features a wireless charger that will automatically grab your phone and easily release it with the touch of a button.
However, perhaps best of all, the OMOTON Car Phone Holder Charger has both vent mounting clips and suction mounting, making it the best of both worlds. This dashboard clip mount car phone holder definitely offers the best value for money, and is by far one of the best dash phone mounts out there today.
So far, we've really only covered how a phone mount attaches to your car, and not your phone. But the truth is, the way a cell phone mount attaches to your phone is equally as important as your car. After all, who cares if your dash mount stays on the dash if your phone is constantly slipping and sliding off?
In this regard, there are usually two standard approaches: A magnetic cell phone holder, and a clamp phone holder.
Although there are positives and negatives associated with each, for this article, let’s just dispel the rumors about magnets.
Yes, magnetic cell phone holders are perfectly safe. And no, they will not damage your phone!
The magnets that are usually used for smartphone mounts are tiny and hidden from view, hardly the type of industrial magnet that can do damage. Because of this, there is also absolutely no way it can interfere with your device’s signal, data, phone screen, or anything else, really. It’s just not possible.
In fact, what you should be concerned about isn’t whether or not the magnet is strong enough to affect your phone's usage, but whether it’s strong enough to not drop your phone!
Because the truth is, if you try to be cautious and buy a phone mount with a “weak” magnet for daily use in a vehicle, whether it be a bike, motorcycle, or car, in all actuality it will not be strong enough, and could drop your phone at the slightest bump. This can result in serious damage to your phone both externally and internally.
So in terms of damage, a weak magnet can and will cause far more harm than a standard magnet ever could.
Therefore, if you’re going to opt for a magnetic phone case for your dash, vent, or windshield mount, definitely go strong or go home!
Cup holder mobile phone stands
Last but not least, the humble and not-so-often-talked about cup holder mobile phone stand.
And honestly, why not? Chances are, if you don’t have a cell phone mount, you’re probably throwing your phone in the cup holder anyway. So it was only a matter of time before someone invented an alternative option.
Although the benefits of a cup holder cell phone mount don’t always seem obvious, they can be surprisingly sturdy. Since they don’t have to fight gravity, they can end up being just as sturdy as a regular desk mount, and if you purchase the right one, can be quite easy to install, remove, and transfer between vehicles.
However, as most cup holder mobile phone stands come with long necks and sturdy construction, they are not as portable as an air vent cell phone mount, and do tend to take up space that you would otherwise use to place your coffee, water bottle, or even car keys.
But that being said, they won’t block any airflow. So there’s that.
And yet, perhaps the biggest argument against cup holder mobile phone stands is not their durability, but rather their safety. Unless you get one with an incredibly long neck, chances are, you will have to look down to the side to see your phone. This can be hazardous if you are driving. After all, your eyes should be on the road.
What your cell phone mount says about you
Where you choose to mount your cell phone in your vehicle says a lot about you as a person. Not so much about your personality, but more about how you use your cellphone, and your car.
Are you a busy business tycoon who needs to take calls on the go? Then maybe a dash mount is right for you, so you can vet who's calling and who's worth your time.
Are you someone who travels a lot, drives an Uber, or just likes to use your phone for navigation? Perhaps the air conditioner is the place to be, so both you and your passengers can see it easily while still looking out at the road.
Or maybe you’re a cautious driver (or actually don’t drive that much) who just needs to get from point A to point B. No need to look at navigation, and no need to take calls. Then maybe the cupholder works perfectly fine.
Either way, there is no right or wrong cell phone mount. After taking each aspect into consideration, you can choose the one that is best for you.